Polycarbonate vs. regular/plastic lenses

Discussion in 'Optometry Archives' started by Charles, Aug 2, 2005.

  1. Charles

    Charles Guest

    I posted previously about the difficulty I'm having adapting to my new
    lenses. It also occured to me that I was never really all that happy with my
    last pair either, even though I wore them for two years. Thing is, that last
    pair is when I first switched to polycarbonate. At the time I thought poly
    was simply better in all respects, but after reading a little, it seems that
    poly is possibly more prone to distortion and such? Is it possible that poly
    is not the best choice for people who are more sensitive to distortion? With
    this new prescription I've noticed a slight but noticeable variation in
    clarity as I look through different parts of the lens, I'm not sure how
    normal this is, but I also wonder if there might also be an underlying
    distortion that is making me feel so disoriented.

    So what's the latest thinking on poly vs. plastic?

    If it's relevant, my prescription is like 0.25 power and 1.25 cylinder in
    both eyes. TIA
    Charles, Aug 2, 2005
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  2. That's possibly the biggest understatement of the century.
    It is, and makes me wonder what in the world were they thinking, unless
    you need special impact resistance afforded by polycarb, or unless you
    wanted a drill mount rimless frame.

    If either of those conditions do exist, then I'd say try Trivex
    material, which is even tougher than poly and the optics are way
    better. If neither exist, then go back to good old CR-39 plastic, the
    best optically. And while you're at it, ask them why they recommended
    them, with your Rx.

    w.stacy, o.d.
    William Stacy, Aug 2, 2005
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  3. Charles

    Charles Guest

    Thanks for the reply. So I take it poly is known to cause distortion
    problems. The reason I originally went to poly (besides that it was sold to
    me as being great) was that my last set of frames was the drill-through type.
    I stayed with it because I still thought it was good stuff, and also because
    they suggested staying the course ("stay with what works") - even though it
    may not have really been working all that well previously either.

    What do you think a fair policy is regarding a change from poly to CR-39 as
    far as paying for it? Should I have to pay the whole bill for the new lenses?
    I doubt they'll be willing to pay the entire bill themselves since they
    didn't do anything wrong exactly. I also doubt that they'll even agree that
    the poly could be the problem. I suspect I'll get a few eye rolls before it's
    done ("oh, you read about it on the internet. I see..."). Until I read this
    NG I had no idea there were so many options for material. I thought it was
    glass, which nobody used anymore, plastic or poly. And the place I dealt with
    never really mentioned that any of them were better optically...
    Charles, Aug 2, 2005
  4. The redo is complicated by the fact that they are drilled rimless. If
    you stick with that frame, I'd ask for an upgrade to Trivex. They might
    let you off with the difference in price between the 2 materials. If
    not, then at least ask for a discounted redo. You can't really redo them
    in standard plastic unless you change to a grooved or standard mounting.

    If you are willing to change frames, you might get by with just the cost
    of the frame. Get creative and don't be bashful. Remind them that they
    didn't warn you that the ABBE value (amount of chromatic aberration) of
    polycarb is worse than just about any other lens material in the world.
    If they don't offer (or can't get) Trivex, why not???

    w.stacy, o.d.
    William Stacy, Aug 2, 2005
  5. oh, and also remind them that standard CR39 costs less than poly, so
    maybe they should refund you the difference after the remake...

    w.stacy, o.d.
    William Stacy, Aug 2, 2005
  6. Charles

    Dr. Leukoma Guest

    Since you had worn polycarbonate in the past, why indeed are you now
    having problems? Perhaps there was a significant prescription change,
    or change in the base curve of the lenses?

    Dr. Leukoma, Aug 2, 2005
  7. Charles

    Charles Guest

    No, my situation is that I had drill-thru frames last time, but I'm switching
    to normal frames this go around. I never really liked the rimless frames,
    even though they looked good, because the center part was in my field of view
    so much. Right now, the lenses that are bothering me are poly in the regular
    frame. The question is whether they will consider switching to plastic worth
    the cost of trying, or if they will insist that something else is causing the
    problem - most likely me. I'll give it a shot and see. There's no reason not
    to stick with Crizal along with the plastic, right?
    Charles, Aug 2, 2005
  8. Charles

    Charles Guest

    Well, like I said, I was never totally happy in my last polycarb pair either.
    I always had a very subtle "cross-eyed" feeling when looking straight ahead.
    I realize this is all just speculation and could be something else entirely.
    It was also the first time I went with anti-glare (Crizal), but I doubt that
    would do it?

    My prescription change was that I went up from 1.00 to 1.25 cylinder in one
    eye. I believe that's it except for a minor change in axis on both eyes. They
    seem hesitant to hand out the exact numbers. I know they will if I ask enough
    times, but it seems that most people never ask.
    Charles, Aug 2, 2005
  9. Charles

    Dr. Leukoma Guest

    Many pairs of polycarbonate lenses have been sold without complaint.
    It is one of the most widely used ophthalmic materials because of its
    thinness, light weight, relative impact resistance, and relatively low
    cost. However, complaints like yours -- if the prescription is correct
    -- are sometimes due to the higher aberrations (primarily chromatic) in
    this material, which are more prominent as the prescription increases.

    Since you mentioned a "cross-eyed" feeling when wearing your
    eyeglasses, you should have your eye alignment checked as well by an
    eye doctor.

    Dr. Leukoma, Aug 2, 2005
  10. true

    w.stacy, o.d.
    William Stacy, Aug 2, 2005
  11. Charles

    Myrna Guest

    This discussion has been helpful to me since I'm about to purchase a
    new pair of glasses, both lenses and frames. One place recommended
    Verilux and another talked about polycarbonate. No one ever says
    anything about known problems like distortion. How is the average
    consumer supposed to know what's best? Things have become so complex
    with so many choices. Is Verilux a good lense. I plan to do high index,
    Myrna, Aug 2, 2005
  12. Charles

    timbirr Guest

    If you look at my posts from yesterday, "New Progressives ? -- optican
    out of town, some of this is discussed.

    As I mentioned, my optican said the progressives should work for me and
    said if I didn't like them, he'd replace with glass for no extra
    charge. Perhaps you can find someone who will work a deal like that for

    My total cost, and I know, it is probably somewhat meaningless, esp.
    since I don't know what type of Varilux I have, was $346 for Esquire
    q-804 frames and polycarbonate Varilux lenses.

    Everyother shop in my area was at least $40 more and a couple were
    about $100 more. And they all felt like cattle call assembly lines.

    My optican runs his own shop, although he is "affiliated" with an
    adjacent opthalmologist.
    timbirr, Aug 2, 2005
  13. Charles

    Mark A Guest

    You need get straightened out about progressives.

    There are multiple brands of progressive lenses: Varilux, Rodenstock, Seiko,

    For each brand, there are multiple models: Vairlux Comfort, Varilux Panamic,
    Varilux Liberty, etc

    For each brand, there multiple lens materials available: CR-39 (1.50),
    Polycarbonate (1.59), 1.60, 1.67, etc.

    Please avoid polycarbonate lens material like the plague unless you need
    safety lenses, in which case I would look at Hoya Phoenix (Trivex) instead.
    Mark A, Aug 2, 2005
  14. Charles

    Charles Guest

    An update: I went back to the place and they are going to switch me over to
    plastic free of charge. They gave me no grief at all, and the optician even
    said that he personally can't stand to wear poly. I sure hope this fixes my

    By the way, I have a pair of sunglasses in addition to my regular poly
    glasses. The sunglasses seem noticeably less sharp i nthe right eye, most
    noticeable in distance vision. He looked at them and claimed the cylinder in
    the sunglasses was only 1.37 when it should be 1.50 in the sunglasses. He
    also said that there's no way I should be able to notice that. Do you gurus
    agree? It seems very noticeable to me.

    Oh, and I was a little off on my prescription. I had them write it down for

    OD PL -1.50x172
    OS +0.25 -1.00x04

    I'll try to remember to give an update when I get the plastic lenses.
    Charles, Aug 4, 2005
  15. Charles wrote:
    The sunglasses seem noticeably less sharp i nthe right eye, most
    You wouldn't notice that because it's well within tolerance, assuming he
    read it properly, so it's probably something else (could be the axis of
    that cylinder, which should be within 5 degrees of the Rx). Or it could
    be a distortion of some kind, or the Rx itself could be off. Whatever it
    is, if your clear ones are clear and it's the same Rx, the sunglasses
    are wrong in some way.

    w.stacy, o.d.
    William Stacy, Aug 4, 2005
  16. Charles

    Charles Guest

    I picked up the plastic lenses a few days ago. The weird thing is that
    I was actually starting to adapt to the poly lenses. I think I had had
    those glasses almost three weeks, but I was finally getting used to
    them - not totally, but mostly. Now I have the plastic lenses, and
    it's pretty different. It's not like they are better really, just
    different, so now I'm having to adapt all over again.

    I can't believe what a difference there is for the same Rx. On the
    plus side, the plastic clearly holds the Rx better as I look to the
    sides. The poly got blurry and weird looking if I didn't look through
    the center part of the lens.

    Needing glasses is a drag!
    Charles, Aug 13, 2005
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